IPCC reviewer: Report is more ‘scientific-sounding than clearly settled and indisputable’

University of Miami prof Daniel Botkin writes at FOXNews.com:

I’ve studied climate and its effects on life—all kinds of life —for more than four decades, starting in 1968. Along the way, among other things, I developed a computer model of forests that in the 1990s we used to forecast the effects of climate on jack pine forests in Michigan that were the only habitat of the endangered Kirtland’s warbler. A lot of effort was going into saving the bird’s habitat, and I wondered if, with global warming, it might all be in vain.

As a result I’m one of the reviewers of sections of the latest report on climate change and its impact by the United Nations-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the first part of which was released last week in the form of a general summary for policymakers.

I had some serious concerns about the sections of the much bigger report that I reviewed — which hasn’t yet been released—and I have some of the same reservations about the document that was published last week.

The report’s language appears to be sometimes coupled with a selective reading or oversimplification of the facts, so that the authors have “high confidence” in something that is not the whole story.

My biggest concern about the climate report is that it presents a number of speculative, and sometimes incomplete, conclusions embedded in language that gives them more scientific heft than they deserve. The report, in other words, is “scientific-sounding,” rather than clearly settled and based on indisputable fact. Established facts about the global environment exist less often in science than laymen usually think.

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2 thoughts on “IPCC reviewer: Report is more ‘scientific-sounding than clearly settled and indisputable’”

  1. On sounding more scientific than you are: reminds me of the popular ad phrases: “All natural, clinically-proven supplement!”

  2. The actual scientists, the ones whose work appears in the 2,000 pages of the main report instead of the 20 pages of the Summary for Policy Makers, have often been quoted along the lines that the summary bears no resemblance to the scientific evidence and is not based on it. The pattern seems to continue, perhaps to be even worse this time.
    The definition of a zealot is said to be one who redoubles the effort while forgetting the goal. In the case of climate, perhaps a zealot is one who claims greater certainty based on less reliable data.

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